Ashton Kutcher bulks up for Killer role
Ashton Kutcher gets a licence to thrill in action-romance Killers.
The 32-year-old Ashton Kutcher, as can be seen from his action-packed, whirlwind tour of Australia, is a guy who grabs life with both hands.
The Hollywood star and prolific television producer managed to fit in skydiving (he "figured it was the best way to cure any jet lag"), koala-hugging, a harbour cruise, kangaroo fillet feasts and other expeditions during the brief down under tour to promote his new romance-action-comedy Killers. Just how much Kutcher can squeeze into 24 hours would have come as no surprise to the film's director, Australian Robert Luketic.
Bulk billing … Ashton Kutcher beefed up for Killers.
Kutcher is known for his long and lean physique but when he first appeared on the French set of Killers, Luketic was shocked at just how much the actor had buffed up for the role in only a matter of weeks.
It was not until Luketic and Kutcher, who shared a villa in the south of France, had some downtime the workout secret was revealed – a DVD Kutcher bought after watching a late-night infomercial on US television.
"I thought he had used a personal trainer and I wanted to know who it was and how he got into that shape so quickly," Luketic says. "Then one day I was in his living room and he showed me the DVD. I thought 'Oh my god. this can't be for real.' But it was."
'You can't keep that up' … Ashton Kutcher on his new look.
Kutcher and Luketic have not named the particular workout but Luketic says it was important the former fashion model add muscle to play the role of Spencer Aimes, an undercover contract killer.
"When I first met Ashton, he had this very slim, model-type body. I thought it would look great if he bulked up and then he just did it but it shocked me when I found out how."
Kutcher, who is shirtless during some of the first few scenes shot in and around the Cote d'Azur, says he regrets he has not maintained his muscular movie physique.
"People always say actors create these false body images with magazine covers and movies and things like that. We do. It's even false for ourselves, too. I mean, you can't keep that up," Kutcher laughs.
In the film, Kutcher's character is a loner who questions his career choice as a hit man when he meets a beautiful blonde, Jen Kornfeldt, (Katherine Heigl) who is on holidays on the French Riviera from the US. following his heart, Spencer marries Jen and they settle down to life in US suburbia. But it doesn't take long before Spencer's former occupation catches up with him.
The fast-paced film has the undercover killer driving cars at break-neck speed, leaping through glass windows and scaling boats in the Riviera.
Kutcher is the first one to own up to what's actually real and what's pure Hollywood.
"I don't need to be Tom Cruise," Kutcher says. "There were times while we were making this that my heart was beating a little faster, for sure. I'm a pretty athletic person, so doing some of the stunt work is exciting for me but I don't jump through glass," he continues.
"For good reason, too, because my stunt guy had to go the hospital because of it. As long as it looks real and as long as you can't tell, I'm OK with that."
Despite that, Kutcher sustained an injury when he jumped off a boat in the last shot of the film and punctured an eardrum.
"That sucked," Kutcher says. "Luckily it was the last shot because I couldn't hear for two weeks."
It's all part of the job for the Iowa native, who started out as a model for top designers such as Calvin Klein before moving to Los Angeles. his big break came in the form of long-running sitcom, that '70s Show, which aired from 1998 to 2006.
Over the years, Kutcher's career has had its share of highs and lows, with Hollywood sometimes wondering where to place the handsome, well-mannered actor.
During breaks from that '70s Show, Kutcher made his move on to the big screen with small parts in films such as down to you (2000) and Reindeer Games (2000). then came the movie the critics loved to hate: Dude, Where's My Car, opposite Seann William Scott. Since then, he has starred in films such as Just Married (2003), the Guardian (2006), What happens in Vegas (2008) and Valentine's Day (2010).
In terms of his career, Kutcher is rather philosophical.
"I've made some films I'm very proud of and then there are others which may not have been loved by critics but that's all part of this game, isn't it?" he smiles.
One film that made critics sit up and take notice of his acting chops was the Butterfly Effect (2004), in which he plays a character who suffered severe trauma in his youth but finds a way to go back in time and erase it, leading to dramatic changes in his future.
Reactions were mixed but Kutcher proved he was more than just a pretty boy on the big screen.
But it's his work behind the camera that has kept Kutcher equally busy throughout the years.
He worked as executive producer on Killers and the Butterfly Effect, as well as producing and hosting the popular hidden-camera television show Punk'd, in which unwitting celebrities were the butt of the jokes.
He also has to balance his busy schedule with being stepdad to wife Demi Moore's three children to ex-husband Bruce Willis, the youngest of whom accompanied him to Australia.
But Kutcher is grateful that Moore is an excellent sounding board for how to handle Hollywood, critics and life in the spotlight.
"We talk about everything," Kutcher says lovingly. "And I very much value her opinion."